We millennials are sick of the suburbs, right? We all want hip big-city life since we spent so much time stuck at home living with our parents.
New data threatens to crush those dreams if we want to ever own a home.
Real estate data firm PropertyShark says if we want to get on the homebuying train, we should look to work in markets a long train ride outside the Instagram-friendly cores of NYC and LA.
The company looked at what occupations in smaller cities could help supercharge a down payment savings plan.
Basically, they calculated the median income of different jobs in cities around the country and compared how much you could save with those salaries to how much a 20% down payment is in those markets to find out where you should live to save up the fastest.
The results are … boring.
If you want to make enough for a down payment on a house quickly, try looking for lawyer jobs in Dayton, Ohio. Or work as an architect in Syracuse, New York. Exciting, right?!
If this data is correct and we Youngs* are doomed to spend our whole lives in the suburbs, that’s cool with me.
I’d rather have a house I loved and a job that didn’t suck my soul out. Even if my Instagram likes plummet since I couldn’t post pics from the hot new Art Gallery Coffee Shop.
However, this report doesn’t tell the whole story.
Buying a home is not about how much you can put down—it’s about how well you can balance monthly payments with your financial lifestyle (you can determine that balance by figuring out your debt-to-income ratio).
Putting 20 percent down for a house is a real estate industry rule of thumb, but it’s hardly required.
You can buy a house and put as little as 3.5 percent down depending on the loan you get. Even in the most competitive housing markets in the U.S., the average buyer isn’t putting 20 percent down.
The real story here is about your financial priorities and what you can do to achieve them.
If your goals include living that sweet city life and paying a little more for it, then commit to that! You can still lay out a timeline to save for a down payment and work out a debt-to-income ratio that will land you where you want to be in the future.
If you want to fast-track your way to home ownership, then you can prioritize paying down manageable debts and saving so your debt-to-income ratio and down payment fund are both strong.
Reports like PropertyShark’s shouldn’t discourage you if owning a home is your dream. They show an extremely limited aspect of the homebuying process and draw big conclusions from it.
You can also explore another option by delving in the rent-to-own model if that’s what works for you.
Follow us here at The Basis Point using the buttons below as we show you how to find details in the big picture—and we don’t just mean the pic atop this post 😉
– *artwork for this piece is a millennial American Gothic redo. We call this couple The Youngs.